4 Star Prison: Life in Australia’s COVID19 Hotel Quarantine

Arriving on an international flight to Australia and worried about the compulsory Australian Hotel Quarantine?

We just arrived in on an international flight to Brisbane and were quarantined at the Rydges Hotel in Brisbane.

Here is what to expect if you are arriving in to Australia and have to undertake the mandatory 14 day hotel self-isolation.

Australia Hotel Quarantine COVID 19: @ Rydges Hotel Brisbane

What happens at the Airport?

When you first arrive to board your plane you will be asked if you understand that you will be subjected to a 14 day compulsory quarantine under lock and key once you arrive in Australia.

Nothing was said the entire flight until we had landed where it was announced that we would be staying at the Rydges Hotel Brisbane.

Upon disembarking the plane was where all the fun really began. As we walked out there were police ready to escort you through customs to the bus that will take you to your hotel for the next 14 days.

If you feel like doing a runner at this point, think again, as they not only have the police guarding the airport entrance but the full Australian army escorting you out.

What quarantine hotel can I expect in Brisbane?

Previous travellers arriving at the Brisbane International Airport have been quarantined at the Novotel Brisbane Airport & the Ibis Budget Brisbane Airport.

We were a little worried about being quarantined in these hotels as passengers quarantined on March 30 reported feeling trapped with no access to fresh air. A passenger we have been in touch with told us that she was not even allowed to open the window, had no air con and was served frozen foods. Ekkk!

Luckily, that was not our experience.


That is not to say it doesn’t totally SUCK. It does. Being in a hotel under lock and key feels like you are serving a prison sentence.

Although, perhaps the government has listened to the complaints of recent incoming passengers and changed some of the accommodation plans as if you have to spend time in jail, the Rydges Hotel Brisbane wasn’t the most horrible place you could be.

We almost did somersaults when we saw the large balcony we had been given overlooking the Brisbane River. We had prayed for a window (ideally one that opened) after hearing previous passengers’ reports and were overjoyed at having an actual balcony!!!


The room itself was nice too. We were pretty happy to have a 2 seater lounge chair, a desk and a seperate little lounge. Look, again, I’d rather be at home quarantining with my yard to walk in, but if I have to do it, thank goodness for the lounge and the balcony.

It seems the government has listened to the complaints and made arrangements that aren’t completely oppressive.

What food can I expect?

Different passengers reported different food options. The food at the Rydges Hotel Brisbane is not made in house but outsourced to an outside catering company.

There are 3 meals delivered each day.Β To give you an idea:

  • Breakfast: Banana, OJ, muesli bar, cereal, milk
  • Lunch: wrap with ham and cheese, salad

The food so far has been good and to a reasonable standard.


What toiletries can I expect?

We brought with us our own toiletries so we weren’t unhappy with this but you would be a little screwed if you didn’t bring your own stuff. All that was in the room was the standard toiletries you would get when staying at a hotel.



We will keep you updated with anything else that might ease your mind!

Update: FAQs

Can you get deliveries? Yes, we actually found we were spending a lot of time on the computer so we purchased a pair of high quality blue light glasses which helped reduce headaches as we had little option but to pass the time watching movies, tv series etc. You can also get groceries etc delivered if the quarantine food is not to your palate.

Is there free wifi? Yes, we had free and fast wifi. However, a cheap work around if your internet isn’t up to speed is to order a $5 Kogan sim (with 40GB data included). Ours took a week to arrive, so consider purchasing one in advance.


17 thoughts on “4 Star Prison: Life in Australia’s COVID19 Hotel Quarantine”

  1. Where you check for coronavirus…temperature at least? Did anyone contact you daily from the health department to monitor your condition?

  2. James Mcilvenny

    Hi DestinationHunters!
    My dad is arriving into Brisbane today, headed for quarantine (we don’t know which hotel yet.) I understand outside contact might not be allowed, but how about care packages/ or deliveries?
    Hope everything is ok in quarantine!

    1. Hi James,
      Telephone contact is allowed, just no physical contact of course.
      There’s conflicting information about care packages. We’ve been told it’s OK but you might want to check. Food-wise everything has been pretty reasonable, so that shouldn’t be too much drama.
      Best wishes for your family

    2. Thank you for sharing, May and Darren πŸ™‚ Hope that quarantine is going okay for you.

      Hi James, may I ask where your dad is now for quarantine?
      Hope he is going okay as well!

  3. Hi May and Darren
    Do you know who makes the decision as to which hotel you get allocated to? Did you get to make any kind of request?

    1. Hi Marie,
      We were told as the plane landed, which I think was a sensible decision so no one needed to complain / interact with the police / customs officials more than necessary.
      No idea who made the decision and no opportunity to have a say.
      Stay safe πŸ™‚

  4. Hi Marie, we are thinking about returning to Brisbane. Is it possible do you think if we had a bigger computer screen and attachments shipped from the office due to work commitments to Quarantine?

    Thanks and yes looks like you got lucky getting Rydges!

  5. Hi May,
    Could I ask if you saw any families in hotel quarantine? My husband and I are due to travel to brisbane in the coming weeks, we have 2 boys, aged 5 &2, I am also expecting our third. We have permanent residency and are moving for work. Do you know if we would be allowed outdoors for any activity at all? I am very stressed about how to manage the kids! Also are you allowed to get supermarket deliveries for extra snacks for kids? Thank you for your help, Theresa

    1. Hi Theresa,

      Sorry I missed this. You’ve probably already arrived now but to answer your questions for the benefit of others.
      1. Outdoors was restricted to our balcony. We were lucky to have one.
      2. We bought an extra bag worth of gear before our trip (games, snacks etc) to help pass the time. We didn’t need half of it but it was reassuring to have
      3. We didn’t need more food, but apparently it was possible to receive deliveries

      Would love to hear your experience too.


  6. Hi Guys,

    We are family with 2 kids under 10. No one can tell me were families get sent. Where there Other families on your flight/bus ? We have grave concerns having kids locked up & no sun or fresh air

    1. No, it was mandatory but free. Deprivation of liberty isn’t fun but was the right decision in the circumstances to protect unnecessary loss of life. The army chaperone was a little over the top and IMO unnecessary.

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